Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Changes on the way for Fowler Avenue exit off Interstate 275

TAMPA — Like other drivers racing the clock, Angel DeJesus often faces a dilemma: He can sit in traffic and risk showing up late or take the Busch Boulevard exit and travel up Nebraska Avenue.

DeJesus is a mover. He's supposed to keep his 26-foot moving truck off narrow streets whenever possible, but he also knows that come 4 p.m., traffic on northbound Interstate 275 can back up nearly a mile, from the Fowler Avenue exit to Busch Boulevard.

The decision? It often comes down to timing. Taking Busch can save 20 minutes, he says.

"From 4 to 6 o'clock, I don't even come down here. It's that bad," said DeJesus, 32, of Tampa.

Thousands of other drivers face similar dilemmas each afternoon rush hour. They can either sit in traffic or exit the interstate before or after Fowler.

The Department of Transportation says it has a fix. This week, work crews will begin revamping the Fowler exit ramp.

Most of the work will happen at night, department spokesman John McShaffrey said. Any lane closures on the interstate will be scheduled after rush hour.

The first closure, scheduled to end today, has shut two of three northbound lanes, from north of Busch to north of Fowler.

Crews will use the time to re-stripe the highway, shifting lanes to accommodate construction. Two lanes will again be closed from Sunday through Tuesday.

"We're doing this project for safety reasons," McShaffrey said. "With traffic backing up onto the interstate, that's obviously nothing we want at any interchange."

The project, which is to be paid for with federal highway safety funds, will add a 3,300-foot exit-only lane to the existing single-lane ramp, so that two lanes of traffic will be able to exit at Fowler. The existing exit lane will then become an optional through or right-exit lane.

At the bottom of the ramp, engineers will add two right-turn lanes to the single lane currently at the interchange. That will create five lanes at the bottom of the ramp: two lanes for left turns onto westbound Fowler and three for right turns onto eastbound Fowler.

The right-turn lanes will be controlled by a new traffic signal. On average, about 17,500 cars take the Fowler exit daily.

Twyla Pumroy of Hyde Park was eager for the work to start.

A University of South Florida student, Pumroy said she often takes the Fletcher Avenue exit, but prefers Fowler so she can grab a bite at her favorite restaurant before class.

The only problem is the start-and-stop traffic as cars merge and then wait in line to get onto Fowler. The backups often stretch past Busch, she said.

"I drive a stick and my leg is throbbing (from the clutch) by the time I get to school," she said. "The traffic at that time of day is just a nightmare."

McShaffrey said the project is expected to last about a year.

Changes on the way for Fowler Avenue exit off Interstate 275 11/14/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Photo of the Day for September 21, 2017 - A Gorgeous sunset on the gulf

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Evan Kaplan of New Port Richey, FL.

  2. State shuts down Hollywood nursing home where 9 died in scorching heat

    State Roundup

    HOLLYWOOD — The Hollywood Hills nursing home that became a sweltering deathtrap for nine seniors after Hurricane Irma was shut down Wednesday.

    Dawn Schonwetter stops to look at a memorial of flowers and messages left on the sidewalk of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Nine residents of the nursing home died in the wake of Irma, including one who was added to the death toll on Tuesday. [AL DIAZ | Miami Herald]
  3. Tampa woman identified in fatal I-4 crash that sent car into canal in Plant City


    The Florida Highway Patrol has identified a Tampa woman killed in a crash on Wednesday morning in Plant City.

  4. Police identify woman they say beat and stole from a 69-year-old in St. Petersburg


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tips from the public have led police to identify the woman they say followed and beat up a 69-year-old woman at her home as 34-year-old Leslie Broadfoot.

    Police have identified Leslie Broadfoot, 34, as the woman they say beat up a 69-year-old after saying she would help her unload hurricane supplies from her car. (St. Petersburg police)
  5. Gradebook podcast: The 'Is Hurricane Irma finally over?' edition


    Schools across Florida began preparing for Hurricane Irma long before it ever arrived, its veering path creating anxiety for just about every Floridian at one point or another. Cafeteria workers, teachers, custodians, bus drivers, administrators and others jumped into action, often putting civic duty ahead of personal …

    The Hillsborough County school district created a video celebrating its employees as heroes of Hurricane Irma.